Jason Oliver Chang

Ph.D., Berkeley; Assistant Professor of History and Asian American Studies
HoursTh 2-3pm
OfficeWood Hall 331

Research Interests

Modern Mexico, U.S. Empire, Race, Migration, Transnationalism, Borderlands, Comparative Racial Formations


Jason Oliver Chang, born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is Assistant Professor of History and Asian American Studies.  He earned his PhD from the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California at Berkeley in 2010. While there he received research support from the Center for Race and Gender, the Historical Society of Southern California, the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, and several UC offices.  Before coming to UConn, Dr. Chang was a Lecturer for the Center for Asian American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.  Dr. Chang also holds a Masters of Public Policy and Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he focused on the enforcement of immigration law at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Combining Asian American Studies and Latin American Studies, Dr. Chang’s research agenda focuses on the history of Asian diasporas in the Americas and the different systems of race and gender they encounter and become a part of.  These histories of migration, settlement and racialization are representative of his interests in the broader geo-historical formations that have linked Asia and the Americas since the 16th century.  Dr. Chang’s work tries to re-imagine the boundaries of the term “Asian American” by reaching into the past to map a larger historical geography of Asian American diasporas beyond U.S. borders.  For Dr. Chang, broadening the scope of Asian American History is an exciting research area for investigating the dynamics of comparative racial formations and rethinking historical narratives from marginalized perspectives.
His first book project, Asians and the Making of the Mexican Mestizo, is a history of comparative racial formations in Revolutionary Mexico (1910-1940) that illustrates the role that Chinese and Japanese racial difference played in the making of a mestizo racial identity for the Mexican nation.  The book also places Asian American community formation in a hemispheric context to underscore the dimensions of multi-racial contact zones.  It reveals how the triangulation of positive and negative racializations of Asian immigrants in Mexico shaped dominant discourses of Mexican mestizo national identity, which strengthened state hegemony over indigenous populations.  By addressing questions of race, identity, and nation this book also shows the power of state interests to shape our understanding of the past.


"Racial Alterity in the Mestizo Nation" Journal of Asian American Studies. Forthcoming